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Making an impact in Illinois communities since 1856.

Illinois leadership team

Learn about First National Bank in Illinois

Our history dates back to 1856, when Castle Bank was founded in Sandwich, Illinois by Miles B. Castle. The Castle Bank heritage makes us one of Illinois’ most historic financial institutions. In fact, a member of the Castle family has served on the board of directors since the bank was founded. Our long-standing reputation for service quality has served the bank and our customers well for over 150 years.

In 1919, Castle’s bank joined the Illinois state banking system and officially became The Sandwich State Bank. The Bank continued to grow as Sandwich Banco, Inc., with the purchase of First State Bank of Harvard and The Bank of Yorkville in the early 1990s. In 1999, all of the holding company’s banks consolidated under one name, Castle Bank.

In 2002, Castle Bank joined the family of banks owned by First National of Nebraska. In 2010, Castle Bank became a division of First National Bank of Omaha, a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. Much like the Castle story, First National Bank of Omaha has roots dating back to 1857 and is in its sixth generation of family ownership. In addition to sharing a rich history, our banks also share in the philosophy of putting our customers first and building strong communities.

The decision to consolidate the banks allows us to be a stronger and more diversified banking company – leveraging our combined strength to serve our customers and communities. Our common history and culture has led to a successful blend of sophisticated products and personalized service from the local management team and employees that continue to serve you.

Illinois Leadership

The Illinois leadership team is devoted to making banking at First National Bank world-class. Learn about the leadership in Illinois who are making an impact on banking in your local community.

Stan Free | Market President

Stan joined First National Bank in 1993, after working as a commercial banker at First National Bank of Chicago. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Illinois University, and is a graduate of the Graduate School of Banking. Stan has served on numerous not-for-profit boards and charities over the years. He currently serves as Board Member and Finance Committee Chair for the Kendall County Community Food Pantry. He is also a Board Member and Investment Committee Member for the Waubonsee Community College Foundation, and for the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley. Stan enjoys spending time with his family, and is proudest of raising three great kids.

Josh Huseman | Director, Private Client Services

Josh joined First National Bank in 2007 and prior to his role in Wealth Management, he led the Illinois Corporate Treasury Services team. Josh earned his Certified Wealth Strategist® designation from Cannon Financial Institute and his Bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University. Josh serves his community in many capacities, including Christ Community Church, DeKalb Chamber Leadership Academy, and in Money Smart Week events. He is a Board Member for the Illinois Bankers Association's Future Leaders group. Josh loves spending time with his family outdoors – hunting, fishing, and back yard grilling. No matter where he’s at, he seems to find great country music.

Sam Kesler | Director, Retail Branch Banking

Sam joined First National in 2007. He began his banking career as a teller, then progressed from auditor, to call center manager, to Bank President, and finally GSVP of product management/marketing division. Sam earned his BA in Business Administration from Cedarville University, and holds an MBA in Finance from DePaul University. Sam has been involved in community affairs as a director with a low income housing board, chamber boards and community church positions. He enjoys spending time with family, and a good round of golf.